Imagine entering your home through the privacy and convenience of your own garage—at 96 and 98 Degraw Street, twin townhouses in the heart of Brooklyn’s unique Columbia Street Waterfront District, you can do just that. The townhouses, both completed in 2018 by DUMBO-based Barrett Design, epitomize a successful balance between suburban peacefulness and hip Brooklyn—in a neighborhood that’s on the rise.
The Columbia Street Waterfront District is one of the smallest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, comprising just 22 blocks west-east between the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the waterfront, and north-south from Atlantic Avenue to the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel. After being sectioned off by Robert Moses’s highway expansion project—the BQE—and isolated from adjacent Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill in 1957, the district fell into disrepair. Over the subsequent decades, the quirky area has seen various phases of redevelopment: An urban renewal project stirred new interest in the 1980s, and in the early 2000s, new bakeries, restaurants and chic businesses opened up, mixing with the long-established community of dockworkers, most notably the Brooklyn Collective, a membership-based collective of artists, artisans, and fashion designers. In 2012, the area gained mainstream popularity with the opening of James Beard Award-winning chef Andy Ricker’s Thai restaurant Pok Pok. (Ricker’s acclaimed restaurant closed this year, but its influence continues, and restaurants like the excellent Popina continue to elevate the neighborhood’s culinary stock.)
These days, Columbia Street features a mix of low-rise housing, including both new developments and conversions of older industrial buildings. The townhouses at 96 and 98 Degraw Street feature four bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms, with floor-to-ceiling windows, central air, radiant heating in the polished concrete floors, and a dramatic Ortal gas fireplace. In each, a sculptural staircase of warm oak leads from the main floor to the upstairs bedrooms, and a private roof deck offers panoramic views of New York Harbor, Governors Island, and Lower Manhattan. Out back, an enclosed rear yard offers an easy escape from the hum of the city. And, very notably, each townhouse offers not one but two private parking spots—a driveway space and a garage.